BCE acquisition to close in December

The $52 billion Bell Canada Enterprises acquisition, which has faced many hurdles since being announced last summer, is now scheduled to close in December. That represents a postponement of several months for a deal that originally had been scheduled to close this month, but the delay, combined with the recent decision to stop BCE dividend payments, will result in a purchase price that is lower by about $1.5 billion, and terms that are more agreeable to the lending banks involved in the deal.

Four banks are lending about 85 percent of the money that the buyers--the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and three private equity firms--needed for the acquisition, and in addition to the later closing date and dividend halt, other elements of the lending terms reportedly were changed.

Current BCE CEO Michael Sabia still plans to step down from his job Friday as planned. His successor, George Cope, was chosen several months ago.

For more:
- see this story at The New York Times

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